Finding the Magic Moment in Consumer Social Apps

One of the secrets I learned whilst leading growth at Discord, is how to turn more users into power users. It starts with finding the magic moment. But what is a magic moment? It’s the moment in your user’s journey where they understand the value of your product for the first time. For a company like Discord that might be chatting with your friends for 15 minutes in a voice channel, for Duo Lingo it could be getting your first 5 answers right in a row, for Strava it could be sharing your first run. If you already have users, identifying your product’s magic moment starts with looking at the behavior of your existing power users and asking yourself a few questions.

Identifying Consumer Products’ Magic Moment

As a founder you can start to identify this moment by just talking to your best users and figuring out how they are achieving core product value.  Once you know qualitatively the thing they loved and found fun, and quantitatively the actions they took in the product to get there, you can then work backwards to find an ‘early predictor metric’. This metric will help you calculate how likely they are to be a power user. The more users you can get to follow this path to the magic moment, the more engaged users you will have, and the better your retention metrics will be. Study your power user’s behavior to find your product’s magic moment. Then answer these questions: how did they find your product? what did they do in the first 15 minutes of using your product? what did they do in the first 7 days of using your product?


Save the board image above to help you and your team progress to the magic. 

Growing your user base is great, but retention is the oxygen of any consumer app. Understanding how users are making your product a regular part of their life, will help you better design your on-boarding experience to get users to the magic faster.

If you don’t already have users, start by writing out what your ideal user experience would be. How would they find the product, what actions will they take in the first minute of using your product and what will they do in your product over the next week? Stack rank the things they could do i.e. create a profile, find their friends or discover things to buy, then lower the barrier to getting to those things. You’ll want to experiment by presenting different user groups with different funnels. Does the cohort of users who are prompted to create a profile first have a higher retention rate than users who jump right in to using your app?

The ‘user diary exercise’ is another effective way to get in the the head of your user. Write out a diary of your user’s day and fit in exactly when they are using your product. This way you’ll understand how users could return more frequently to your app. We’re looking for founders who have a clear understanding of who they are building for, and what value they want to deliver to users.

The biggest consumer social companies eventually become products that are used everyday. We think more products should feel less like work and more like play- and when they do they feel magic.

Thanks for reading! If you’re building a consumer company and you’ve figured out what your magic moment is please reach out- I’d love to hear more

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